Acadia wasn’t the first choice for Scott, my fiancé, and I when we were planning our honeymoon last year. We were all set to go to the Grand Canyon and had secured a coveted hotel room perched precariously on the south rim. Unfortunately, work demands conspired against us, so we shortened our getaway and considered destinations closer to home. The decision to drive up the Eastern seaboard through one craggy fishing village after another enroute to our lodgings in Blue Hill, Maine, was easy. Not only had we found a region of majestic beauty, but also home to one of the premier shellfish industries in the nation. Our dining would be as memorable as our exploration of Mount Desert Island, but you wouldn’t know it from our arrival in Blue Hill.
Having taken the long, slowly scenic passage along Maine’s Route 1, we were deeply hungry and tired by the time we checked into our bed and breakfast. My mind was fixed on the idea of a lobster shack, clam hut or other unpretentious hole-in-the-wall, the more weather beaten, the better. I’d had the most bohemian, memorable meals at these types of little lean-to’s in other coastal towns throughout the years.
The first turn onto the first pitch-black road was our first mistake, never mind that a sign was pointing the way. The next turn proved even more inauspicious; we lost the red tail lights of the car before us, guiding our uneasy way. At least it was something. Now we were all alone on a road that incrementally narrowed and grew gravelly under our tires. The brush scratched along the sides of the car and the road suddenly dropped and disappeared, leaving us on a dirt trail no wider than two hikers walking abreast. I wanted to go back, but there was no place to turn, and we were literally in too deep to back out without getting caught in a clutch of conifers. After inches that felt like miles, and minutes that felt like hours, we worked our way down to a clearing and a dimly lit Victorian mansion. We had finally arrived.
Or so it seemed. We paced the wooden porch of the deserted building until we were greeted suspiciously by a woman whose demeanor was as severe and grizzled as her physical presence. After we justified our intrusion, the woman led us inside and pulled a map out of a drawer. A map? To get from the hotel to the restaurant? Where the hell were we and where were we going? After elaborately marking up the map with yellow highlighter, the woman sent us out into the night, admonishing us not to park our car just anywhere lest we block traffic. Traffic?
The map pushed us deeper into the darkest wilderness. The half-eaten bag of pretzels and flaccid, warm cheese sticks in the back seat were starting to look really good. We were another ten minutes into our travail, and still no “traffic.” My extravagant imagination tripped all my worst fears; I was convinced we would never return alive from those woods, that the next life form we would encounter would not be a deer in the headlights but a shotgun aimed at the windshield by a creature of sinister intent and single-digit IQ.
By the time we did get to the restaurant, a tomb serving a handful of diners as effete and dull as taxidermy specimens, I had no appetite left for the rich and creamy lobster pasta dish finally set before me. Deprived of my simple supper, I vowed to get my fill of all the shanty shellfish we could find for the duration of our stay. This year, when we returned to Maine, I continued my mission, plotting and planning each meal with precision as we worked up our appetites hiking steep trails in the brightest of sunshine, where we knew where we were going.
Green Goddess Crab Puffs (my own recipe)
16 miniature puff pastry shells
½ pound shredded crab meat, the freshest available
¼ cup mayonnaise, or the least needed to moisten and bind
1 scant handful chopped scallion greens
1 scant handful chopped tarragon
1 scant handful chopped parsley
Dash of black ground pepper
Salt, optional to taste
Slivered lemon peel, optional garnish
Heat pastry shells in 300 degree F oven for approximately 8 minutes until warm. Follow package directions if using frozen shells.
Gently combine all other ingredients except the lemon peel in a large bowl. Fill each shell with a small amount of crab salad, then top with lemon peel if desired. Serve immediately as they are or return to oven to warm the filling for a few minutes.
Makes approximately 16 miniature crab puffs. The crab salad works equally well in grilled buns or atop a mound of mixed greens. --
This post is being submitted to Myriam of Once Upon a Tart, hosting Weekend Herb Blogging for Kalyn Denny of Kalyn's Kitchen, the creator of this weekly food-blogging event.
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